Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Mystery Stole

A couple weeks ago, I came across a "mystery" stole (shawl) project online (MS3). Each week, a new "clue" or piece of the pattern would be emailed out, and at the end of the project you (hopefully) end up with a shawl. I have never before intentionally knitted something without knowing what it would look like at the end, or at least having a vague notion of what it is supposed to look like, but I love new things AND I already had beads and yarn so there would be no cash outlay (always a plus for new projects) so I signed up. 350 emails (or 1 minute) later, I learned that one should always opt out of the "receive all discussion emails" on Yahoo lists, especially when that group has 6700 members in no less than 8 languages.

I downloaded Clue 1, dug out some black laceweight yarn & began. And hit

Problem #1: My smallest crochet hook was too large to be able to thread the beads with.

Next day: Visit to a yarn shop to find the smallest crochet hook they have. Get waylaid by some lovely rosewood needles. Leave $30 behind, but emerge victorious

Arrive home. New crochet hook STILL too large. Decide to not waste anymore gas driving around trying to find minuscule crochet hooks that no one is likely to carry anyway as they are too small to crochet with anything bigger than thread. Go online and order an even tinier crochet hook AND new beads (not taking any chances now), followed by several bead options just in case I didn't like my first choice of beads, and frankly because I was having lots of fun. $35 later, and my beads and hook are on their way.

Three days later: Victorious! The new hook will work, and the reddish black beads will be lovely on the black. Added bonus: they are amazingly aerodynamic. When trying to wrest the plastic lid off the cylinder they came in, I was able to scatter them into every corner of the sewing room. Luckily I only need half the container. Unluckily, that is all I can how locate.

A week later:
Toni: Son of a B@$#)!
Andy (from another room): What happened?
Toni: I just scattered beads all over the living room
Andy: I thought hobbies were supposed to be relaxing
Toni: I am relaxed, damnit! (muttering as she crawls around on the floor) Stupid beads!
Andy (in the interests of marital harmony): (silence)

Today: I am in the "slow" group. I am still working on Clue 1 and Clue 4 will be released on Friday. Several overachievers regularly post pictures of the progress they have made on the 3 mystery shawls they are making simultaneously, and debate whether to regrout their kitchens or retile their bathrooms while they wait for the next clue. I am growing as a person and will not think evil thoughts about them. It isn't difficult knitting, but it is "fussy" knitting. In order to work on it, I must have at least 30-40 minutes to make any real progress, because 15 minutes of every session is devoted to picking up beads from wherever I have currently launched them before I can start knitting. Still, at some future point in time, I will have a shawl beaded with the most aerodynamic beads ever created--and hopefully I'll like it!


Terri said...

Toni, I know how you feel about bead retrieval. One of our cats loves to "help" and when I left the room, she had all the beads everywhere! I used a foot of a pair of hose over the vacuum hose to pick them up. It worked great and was fast, too. Saved me lots of cussing and her a bath with the squirt bottle..

Anna said...

Ha ha! Your comments about the MS3 superknitters made me laugh out loud.

I don't understand how some people manage to work this so fast, but I'll blame my slower progress on having a life and 3 kids.....

Rete said...

Hahaha! I feel the same way about the speed knitters... did you see the post by the lady who has already finished clue 4??

I'm still on Clue 1, and will be for a while... I can only knit after my dd is put to bed, so I only manage 2 or 3 rows a night.

I wish you luck with your beads. Can't wait to see it, it sounds beautiful!

Jill said...

I've been taking the shawl "slow" but I usually have the clue done before Saturday is over. This time around with a double clue I'll be working on it till Sunday. hat can I say - I have no life! :-)
However - one bead suggestion - you may want to get a piece of contact paper or something else lightly sticky to put the beads on. I don't know if it would help because I've never tried it but - it wouldn't hurt.....

anastasia said...

toni, i just about peed myself reading about your ms3 adventures. and beyond ms3 as well - your dry humor is magnificent (not even the harlot makes me laugh this much...)

as for the ms3 speed knitters, i think they may actually be on speed to do what they're doing. don't let them get to you. power to the "contented bees"!

Reluctant Penguin said...

I loved the tale of your cost-free MS3 project... not to mention your struggle with airborne beads. It does help to keep things in perspective (from one who has definitely NOT finished Clue 4).

Debbie said...

LOL re the superknitters. I'm slow, mostly because I keep starting over! I just started chart B and have a row to tink back. Could be the two glasses of wine I had at dinner.

Alacaeriel said...

I love your post! I'm not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but I can seriously see myself having a similar conversation with my husband-to-be in a few years. ...Or maybe next week.

And I'm not even halfway through Clue 1, either.

Jessica said...

I'm a slow bee & almost done with clue 2...

I just laugh at the superknitters, though one of my good friends is a superknitter, but that's her choice... I have 4 kids, so no way am I going to keep up with the clues...heck, I still have Scheherezade in progress... (though might finish it sooner & turn it into a pillow or someting instead of using as a stole...)

About losing beads: check out the flip top containers here:

You can also use medicine bottles for your beads... something that'll hold them cuz those bead tubes are a bit of a pain... (and melanie did say that a tube was enough to allow for bead loss in the couch...)


geekling said...

Well, from someone with 2 MS3s on the needles, and mostly through the last clue...

Does it help to take into consideration that we're in prime summer vacation season, and we're having the coldest and wettest July since records began.

With the heating turned on _in_mid-July_ while the rain is pissing it down outside. Curling up with the MS3 and a whole bucket of hot cocoa while contemplating climate change and the vacation-plans that rained away, really helps those rows fly by.

Ana said...

I loved your comments regarding the stole. Don't worry about being in the slow knitter department I'm there too. I frogged it so many times that I decided to take a break.

MezzoDiva said...

Loved this post - esp. the "I am relaxed dammit" and spousal silence to follow!!
I am just restarting my MS3 for the umpteenth time with a new yarn and because it is a traveling project (on city buses and subways) I am going beadless for this one (though I will prob ably make another with beads after this it's done).

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